Aslinn Rodas (pictured) training with Guatemala at the Project Goal facility in Guatemala City on February 9, 2015. (Photo: Rudy Martínez Díaz)
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – With an eye on having him possibly compete in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Guatemala included a United States-born midfielder -- whose play in the current Guatemalan Clausura season has drawn impressive reviews -- in a three-day training camp that concluded Wednesday.
The son of Guatemalan immigrants, Aslinn Rodas is a native of California and enjoyed a standout career in U.S. college soccer with Cleveland State University. He had previous experience in the youth/developmental sides of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew and D.C. United, and even tried his hand with Sporting Kansas City.
Though he doesn’t speak fluent Spanish, the 22-year-old packed his bags and headed to Guatemala, joining Xelaju MC on a three-year contract. After receiving a Guatemalan passport, Rodas made his debut at Petapa on January 31, following up that outing with ones against Halcones FC and Antigua GFC.
Those matches convinced Guatemala head coach Ivan Sopegno to extend Rodas an invitation to the national team’s first gathering of the year in preparation for upcoming friendlies against Canada (March 26) and El Salvador (March 29).
"I did not think it (the national team call-up) would come so fast," said Rodas. "I'm happy to be called up to the national team for the first time."
The business major expressed his pride in wearing the jersey of Xelaju and representing the country of his parents.
"They are all happy in the United States that I'm representing their country,” he emphasized. “Representing a country is a great thing. If they give me the opportunity, I’ll take it.”
With a reputation for possessing slick passing skills, Rodas – despite having already registered two assists -- acknowledged that further adjustment to the style of play in Guatemala is necessary.
"It's a different football,” he finished. “I like it, but is quite different. Little by little, I'm getting used to the league here. They play more with the ball, while in the United States it is more aggressive and faster.”
Guatemala, which will return to the Gold Cup for the first time since 2011, has been idle since a 1-0 loss at Peru last October.